Parents React To Mount Vernon School District Restructuring

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The heat map showing how Mount Vernon schools are over and under utilized.
The heat map showing how Mount Vernon schools are over and under utilized. Photo Credit: Contributed
This Mount Vernon mother of one supports the changes to the district.
This Mount Vernon mother of one supports the changes to the district.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon residents expressed satisfaction, but not surprise, that interim Superintendent Judith Johnson unveiled a multi-year restructuring of the school district in an effort to make better use of its 16 schools.

After going through a lengthy research process, Johnson and the Board of Education determined that the district should transition to a “K-8 model” to help improve student’s education.

The proposal, which will be rolled out over several years – beginning with Pennington and Graham Elementary and Longfellow Elementary and Middle School - will attempt to create autonomy amongst students and faculty members that will be together for nine years before transitioning to one of the district’s two high schools.

“Something has to be done. There’s no way around that. Our scores are among the worst in the state – maybe the country – so something has to be done,” Douglas Place resident Ray Stanton, said. “The superintendent has done a great job for the district, so I’m willing to put my trust in her decisions.

While some schools are being underutilized within the district, others have been stretched to their limits, and occasionally exceeded. According to a feasibility study by not-for-profit Educorps, current utilizations range between 57 percent at Parker and 144 percent at Lincoln Elementary School.

The fluctuation in the utilization rates occur because nearly 20 percent of elementary-aged students in Mount Vernon make use of Westchester County’s various private schools, which have left the district’s current model antiquated.

“It’s all about the kids. If changing things around will help them get a better education, then there you go,” Nellie Cho, who’s daughter Christine is in first grade, said. “I’m all for them doing whatever they have to give the kids a better chance.”

Although Johnson will return to retirement at the conclusion of the school year, she cautions that she and the district are being diligent in the continuing search for her predecessor.

“I’m dedicated to ensuring Mount Vernon has the leadership and resources in place to succeed,” she said. “All children, regardless of their zip code, should receive a quality education for years to come.”

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Comments (4)

Perhaps Mr. Failla was educated in the MV system. Please find a dictionary and look up the word "predecessor".

Thanks for pointing this out. I noticed it and would have commented on it, but I got wrapped up in my other comment. But come to think of it, maybe Ms. Johnson IS looking for her predecessor (Welton Sawyer), so she can slap him around for making a tremendous mess of the MV schools, leaving her with an unfixable problem.

Interesting to note that there are some parents who actually care about the quality of education their children are receiving in the Mount Vernon schools. They probably can't afford to send their children to private schools.
I guess the best thing to do is, take a "wait and see approach". As it is now, the Mount Vernon schools are doomed to failure, mainly because of the incompetence of the BOE members who allowed it to go too far down the path of destruction, starting with the Superintendent Ronald Ross many years ago, and culminating with the criminal negligence of Superintendent Welton Sawyer. Ms. Johnson has been trying to correct the problems, but with the meddling of the Mayor Ernie Davis, she hasn't been able to do much good.